A Nation With No Voice

by tonyvu24

In a Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid is a non-fiction story that discusses the life of Antiguans. For the publication of the book, it is categorized as a memoir. In the story, Kincaid talks about her younger years, political views, history, and point of view upon tourism and tourists. When reading the story, once can feel the expression of the narrator, demonstrating her hatred towards the tourists and the English and the Americans for taking over their land; consequently, resulting in acts of corruption in the country of Antigua.

When initially reading the book, one starts to experience a pleasant serene feeling, where all of their troubles melt away, as if we were a tourist lying on the beach next to the beautiful “shore, [where] the water is pale, silvery, clear, so clear that you can see its pinkish-white sand bottom. Oh, what beauty!” (13) Truly, this is a tourist destination where anyone can just escape from their repetitive lifestyle and just experience relaxation at its finest. The general mood and atmosphere for the reading is negative where the narrator personally attacks the English’s colonization of Antigua for causing their nation to crumble and to be controlled by these businessmen. The library where the narrator once enjoys going to is no longer there, and dilapidated without any sort of reconstruction for many decades. This causes her frustration to develop. The government has no intentions in rebuilding this landmark, and this is quite questionable. This is one of the only libraries in existence in Antigua. Where else is one expected to obtain knowledge and education?

As for trying to categorize this book, a probable genre would be history. Although, the first portion of the book illustrates primarily tourism and the narrator’s personal feelings towards them, the other parts of the book begins to diverge towards the history of Antigua. It’s ridiculous to see how government and politicians treat their own citizens unfairly where local Antiguans have little say to any issues and concerns that arise, and the government will ignore those requests if any. Another weird law enforced by the government is closing the beaches to Antiguans, just shows the type of discrimination that is occurring.

When reading this book, the style of writing is refreshing where Kincaid just expresses all of her feelings without any remorse. Another side of Antigua is depicted besides the beautiful weather; it shows the darker side that is influenced heavily upon government and businessmen that have all the control. An example of this is the Syrian and Lebanese nationals. These people would just buy land in along the countryside, and constructing it into condominiums to sell to Americans and Europeans in American currency. As a reader, the conflicts that are internally occurring within Antigua, makes the readers wonder whether there are any positive changes in this current day and age. This is a recommended book for those who want to read about the truth within the nation of Antigua.


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